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COUNTERING STATE CAPTURE

Anti-graft summit — ‘Intensity of fighting apartheid must be harnessed to fight scourge of SA corruption’

Anti-graft summit — ‘Intensity of fighting apartheid must be harnessed to fight scourge of SA corruption’
From left: Lord Peter Hain (Photo: Veli Nhlapo) | Cynthia Stimpel (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla) | Deputy President Paul Mashatile (Photo: Gallo Images/Volksblad/Mlungisi Louw) | Somadoda Fikeni (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mohau Mofokeng)

At the International Anti-Corruption Day summit in Pretoria on Thursday, Lord Hain proposed measures to prevent future State Capture, including a new International Anti-Corruption Court.

One of the ways in which corruption can be eradicated in South Africa is to use the same intensity used to fight against the oppressive apartheid regime, or the country will turn into a failed state.   

This was a broader sentiment expressed at the international anti-corruption day summit, held at Pretoria under the auspices of “Uniting the World Against Corruption: Anti-Corruption Policies and Programmes: How to Better Collaborate to Improve Implementation and Impact”. 

Among the key speakers was former British anti-apartheid leader and Labour cabinet minister, Lord Hain who took stock of lessons learnt and provided measures to prevent future State Capture.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: It takes two to tango – Businesses have also been culpable in dishonesty, looting and bringing SA to its knees

The measures include the establishment of a new International Anti-Corruption Court, referral of officials taking bribes at driving school testing centers and Home Affairs and pressing the US and UK governments to get all the complicit global corporates and global banks headquartered in US and UK cities to open their books and reveal where the billions looted from South Africa went and to help return it.  

Another key recommendation was for the government to urgently engage the government of India to get the authorities in Delhi to arrest the controversial Guptas brothers and seize their assets in the country to return looted funds. 

“Corruption in South Africa is like a cancer infecting every part of a human body, and which deters tourists and investors and will turn the country into a failed state if it is not eradicated,” said Hain.   

Executive director at WhistleBlower House, Cynthia Stimpel who lit a candle in memory of whistleblowers remarked that, “State Capture and corruption continues in fact, it never did end”. 

This as she challenged the idea, often advanced by government officials, that significant progress was being made in winning the war against corruption and State Capture.  

“The facts and lived experiences of ordinary people in this country tells us otherwise, instead of turning the tide of corruption we are now facing a tsunami of corruption and state capture cases,” said Stimpel.  

Legacy of corruption

Dr Somadoda Fikeni, Commissioner of the Public Service Commission echoed similar sentiments, going as far as linking corruption to apartheid. 

“Today, after all revelations up to the Zondo Commission we realise that the biggest challenge we face is corruption. Apartheid was a minority rule that took from the majority and gave the minority. Corruption is a minority rule that takes from the majority and gives to the minority”

The intensity used to fight against the oppressive regime is precisely what is needed in the fight against corruption whether it’s in public or private sector, NGO or religious spaces, it should not matter. “We should all wage the struggle against corruption.” 

Fikeni also stressed the need for an integrated approach as it had been clear that the government or the private sector could not fight alone. 

“As the PSC and our partners, we are saying, if not you who will do it? If not now, when will it be done, and if not here where will it be done.  

And this is a generational mission of our time to say corruption is the new apartheid that we should all combine forces, it should not be a football for any elections. It should be an all time struggle, it should be something that we talk about and pursue even beyond elections, because it is a cancer which must be removed,” said Fikeni. 

He outlined a number of “concrete” programmes his office had embarked on to prevent another state capture bid. These include lifestyle audits and the development of a framework for the professionalisation of public service.  

“If you get the right people who are appointed  because of their competence and not loyalty, you are one step ahead.”  

‘United front’

Meanwhile, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said the scourge of corruption called for a united front, stressing the government’s commitment to eliminating corruption and dealing harshly with those who partake in it.    

However, the government has been widely criticised for its inaction in the fight against corruption. Last month, Daily Maverick reported that the work done by the State Capture Commission, chaired by Zondo at a cost of just over R1-billion, has been lauded internationally as extraordinary, despite the snail’s pace in implementing key findings at home.    

Read more in Daily Maverick: Corruption has reached ‘unacceptable proportions’ — Chief Justice Zondo 

Mashatile however said, “we are striving to create a corruption-free South Africa through the National Anti-corruption Advisory Council, an intersectional partnership that fights fraud and corruption through advocacy and action. The council is an independent body that supports the anti-corruption anti-crime initiatives of the various law enforcement authorities to enhance the nation’s diversity to eradicate corruption from both society and the administration to bolster investor confidence and establish greater levels of public trust,” he said.  

Fikeni also touched on what Justice Zondo has been championing — the protection and incentivisation of whistleblowers as they were key stakeholders in putting an end to State Capture. 

“It cannot be right that whistleblowers have to go into exile in a democratic society because they do not feel safe, it should be our battle because this is in the public good,” he said.   

Mashatile echoed similar sentiments. “Whistleblowing is an essential weapon in the fight against corruption. However, it is more important that we develop strong mechanisms or strategies to ensure that whistle-blowers are protected from victimisation, prejudice, or assassinations. 

“Failure to provide whistle-blowers with protection under our system will prevent us from ever reaching our goal of eliminating corruption in our nation.” DM

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  • Garth Kruger says:

    “Meanwhile, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said the scourge of corruption called for a united front, stressing the government’s commitment to eliminating corruption and dealing harshly with those who partake in it.”

    Like who? Who have the ANC dealt with harshly? How long was the sentence given?

    Rich for me coming from a person who lives in a R37 million house while on a civil servant salary. The ANC will do nothing about corrution because it’s how they feed. This will go nowhere as usual.

    • Confused Citizen says:

      100% correct! It beggars belief that the Deputy President speaks on this topic at this conference. The organisers must have choked on their tea! It just demonstrates the impunity the ANC believes it has.

  • Garth Gething says:

    Corruption is in the anc’s dna. Not even gene editing will solve the problem. We’re no better than mexico and other central american hell holes.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      We are significantly worse than Mexico which is in turn better off than many of it’s neighbours. 2020 GDP per capita Mexico: $17,900, SA: $11,500. 2019 unemployment figures which probably flatter us Mexico: 3.5%, SA: 28.5%. There is barely a metric where we aren’t significantly worse off than Mexico from HIV infection rates to marginal tax rates, to child mortality and deaths in childbirth. We are racing to the bottom of the charts on just about everything.

      • Jennifer D says:

        And if you have ever watched a Mexican work, you will be absolutely amazed at the speed, focus and efficiency. There is no slouching around the corner. Work is respected and efficiently dealt with, and with pride. That’s the difference. Here there is no pride in a job well done, it’s all about how can I get away with doing as little as possible and taking or stealing as much as possible. Ever run a restaurant in South Africa? With a mindset like that, Africa continues to go downhill.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    It’s farcical to report on this stuff.

  • Brendan Temple says:

    A load of absolute hogwash, from the Deputiy President, nothing is being done and nothing will be done!! They are all corrupt.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    All these nice words by various ANC Executives….mealy mouthed them all…..none of them are remotely clean.

  • Derek Jones says:

    Now that it is clear that they are losing support they pretend to deal with corruption. Mashitile lives in a palace, 37 million just for the house. I am surprised Maverick doesn’t report this as satire.

  • Glyn M says:

    “Failure to provide whistle-blowers with protection under our system will prevent us from ever reaching our goal of eliminating corruption in our nation.”
    There you are! Mashatile has taken action by stating the obvious. He’s fixed the problem by making A Statement, repeating what has been said before, what every single citizen in SA has known for years. That’s how the late great ANC handle issues…. they talk, then they promise then they close the file and carry on doing absolutely nothing.

  • Human Being says:

    “Let us be judged by our actions”Get the gravy train moving!

  • Beezy Bailey says:

    This is like putting the wolf in charge of the chickens ! Blatant lies and hypocrisy coming from an ANC that is ending its existence due to endemic corruption. We have no option other than to watch as they ridicule our courts and loot everything possible knowing very well that next year the free for all is over .

  • Niek Joubert says:

    Peter Hain hated the Afrikaners and the Nationalist party, expecting it to be replaced by an Utopia. Maybe he now sees the consequences. At least he belatedly came forward to confront the criminals, but hopefully he learnt that there is no such thing as the noble barbarian as what was preached during the French Revolution.

  • Francois Smith says:

    Mashitile is head of government business. He is part and parcel of the decision to keep the blue light brigade overfunded (his own unit brutally assaulted an innocent civilian since he was in a hurry), but the investigators get their budgets slashed and the brain drain at the NPA cannot be turned around. He is part an parcel of the decision to keep Cele in his job so that the ANC can get some votes in KZN. He is part and parcal of the decision to work with the EFF in Gauteng. And he took over from Mabuza who probably got an incognito presidential pardon from Ramaphosa. Ie one of the most corrupt people in RSA are not investigated so that i can be president and show that doing nothing leads to worse results. And Mashitile preaches anti- corruption. Only in the ANC.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Oh please! Gimme a break. Apart from the irony that this summit was hosted by the corrupt UNISA, the comments made by Mashatile and Fikeni, other ANC gangsters are just filled with lies and platitudes.

  • Graham Theobald says:

    You only have to read Mavuso Msimang’s resignation letter from the ANC after playing a major role in the party for 60 years, to understand how deep the rot is. The sad thing is that our faith in Ramaphosa’s willingness or ability to stem the spiral downwards has been shattered! Even sadder is the fact that too many voters don’t understand where the ANC leadership has led us and will continue to support them.

  • W De Soto says:

    Good point. Thank you!

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Mashatile’s comment starting “we are striving to create a corruption-free South Africa….” is a superb example of government-speak word salad. It has literally no discernible meaning, but contains a strong whiff of fear. Lying and deception are the hallmarks of the ANC public representatives, from the president down, probably, to the most insignificant of their minions. Any semi-literate South African despairs, while the poorly educated masses are fed a diet of “stick with us or else” lies. Tragic.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The characters who address these forums from the government and the ANC have a credibility problem as they have been implicated in corruption and have salacious reporting around them on these issues. It does not take forward the fight against corruption to have fingered as corrupt talking about fighting fighting corruption as people would just laugh off such talk. The Business Maverick has been reporting along with News 24 on a lot of corruption around Mashatile and frankly I do not believe that he can speak about being harsh on himself. You need to be able to have credible people speaking on the issue as the ANC and the government has run out of credible people to do so. The Chief Justice remains the voice with credibility in the state institutions as even parliament has no credibility to speak on the issue. I think Paul Mashatile can speak on other issues not corruption as not even a donkey would believe him on anything he says. I found it strange that the Public Service Commission would invite him and one wonders if they are not corrupt themselves.
    You do not invite people tainted with corruption if you are not corrupt yourself because you want the message coming out of the Conference to have weight. You simply disinterest people when you invite dubious characters and rise a lot of questions about yourself. We can say that the message will be ignored and nobody takes it seriously. Daily Maverick was supposed to start with the credibility of the speakers first.

  • Les Thorpe says:

    All just talk, followed by more talk. Next we shall learn that even the Guptas are “fighting corruption”.

  • Great and we need to watch the prosecutors as well or choose the right prosecutors because some I think mess up the hearings and a judge then throws it out of court.

  • Johan69 says:

    I think Mashatile should submit to a lifestyle audit before he gets to speak on stopping corruption.

  • The best explanation that I have heard as yet: How can you accuse the Devil with the Satan if the court is in hell?”
    ONE of the biggest problems is that a cashier can hold a higher rank within the ANC than a Municipal Manager. How will the MM fire such a cashier?
    MY observation is that the lower eschelons do not only plunder for their own pockets, but also for everyone at the top; thus they enjoy protection.
    By plundering, the ANC is literally killing their own voters.
    Anyone voting for the ANC is no longer a victim, but a brain-dead accomplice.

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    Well, I do suppose the deputy-president is an expert on the topic.

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